Money to burn?

10 September 2012


How can the push for green energy be made consistent with pulling the EU (and the UK) out of the current economic mire? That is the fundamental question at the heart of the House of Lords Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Energy EU Sub-Committee’s new inquiry, EU energy: decarbonisation and economic competitiveness, launched today.

Commenting on the new inquiry, Lord Carter of Coles, Chair of the Committee, said:

“There is a principal issue of how the cost of energy - as a big cost to industry - can be reduced and kept under control, therefore helping economic growth whilst at the same time decarbonising.

“Energy represents the lion’s share of greenhouse gas emissions which, by 2050, need to be cut by 80-95% compared to 1990 levels. However, it is also central to the manufacturing process and therefore a major player in helping us climb our way out of the current economic recession. How we marry these two conflicting – but crucial – issues, will be the question at the heart of the Committee’s inquiry.

“We would encourage anyone with relevant expertise and interest to reply to our call for evidence.”

Issues the Committee expect to cover during the inquiry include:

  • Energy’s contribution to economic growth: How can EU energy policy reconcile the objectives of decarbonisation and contributing to economic growth?
  • Common EU approach: how true is it that a common EU approach will help keep the costs of transforming the energy system down?
  • The Internal Market in energy: should competition throughout the whole of the supply chain be afforded greater attention?
  • Reducing energy costs: how might price reductions jeopardise attempts to decarbonise? What are the implications of consumer preferences over the energy mix, particularly onshore wind, for price?
  • Gas: should the EU encourage the development of unconventional gas?

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